Psychologists around the country are already applying APA's new "Training Grid Outlining Best Practices for Recovery and Improved Outcomes for People with Serious Mental Illness." For example, they're using it to:

  • Share evidence-based practices with states. "Over the last few years, there's been an emerging focus on evidence-based and promising practices," says Kevin Ann Huckshorn, director of the Office of Technical Assistance at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. "But providers are extremely busy and don't have time to go through the literature." The grid gathers that information in one place, says Huckshorn, who adds that feedback from state mental health systems has been extremely positive. Huckshorn also plans to use the document to identify consultants to provide state mental health personnel with training in specific areas.

  • Influence policy. As a result of alleged civil rights violations in California state mental hospitals, the U.S. Department of Justice and California Department of Mental Health have agreed to replace the current medical model with a recovery-oriented one. At a recent State Senate Select Committee hearing, the California Psychological Association (CPA) used the grid to illustrate some details of the recovery model to Committee Chair and Democratic Sen. Wes Chesbro.

"I testified that psychologists have the most relevant training to work in a recovery model," says CPA Director of Professional Affairs Charles Faltz, PhD. "Being able to distribute this document that clearly had been produced with a lot of care reinforced my testimony and showed that it wasn't just words and that a lot of the work had been done."

  • Build a better work force. The Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce aims to improve the quality and relevance of training in behavioral health. The easy-to-use grid will help the coalition achieve that goal, says Michael A. Hoge, PhD, chair of the coalition's board and a psychology professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.

"Too often when people identify a training need, they start from scratch," he says, noting that the grid is now posted on the coalition's Web site. "This document helps people avoid that dilemma and find training programs and interventions that people have been developing for very long periods of time."

  • Educate themselves. When Sheri P. Ashcraft, PsyD, joined the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center as a staff psychologist in December, she hadn't had a lot of experience treating serious mental illness. Then the grid landed in her in-box-and sparked a flurry of correspondence and phone consultations that amounted to a crash course.

"People were very responsive and willing to share information and other resources," says Ashcraft, noting that she e-mailed practically everyone listed. "It has been a great orientation tool." That's not all, she adds. She developed a consumer council at the clinic after consulting with the grid's experts. She's part of a committee that's using the grid to assess the system's use of evidence-based practices. And she plans to use the grid with interns.

"It really opened my eyes to what the state-of-the-art interventions were and what the possibilities are," she says.

-R.A. Clay